Felony Fleeing Suspect Charged
On May 11, 2019, Deputies with the Searcy County Sheriff's Department observed a black 2012 Chevrolet passenger car, south of Marshall on Hwy. 65 sitting stationary obstructing the flow of traffic.
A traffic stop was attempted however, the vehicle's driver, later identified as GRACEANN E. UNDERWOOD, accelerated and began fleeing north on U.S. Hwy. 65, in an attempt to evade apprehension. During the pursuit, Underwood accelerated to speeds in excess of 90 mph, while in the presence of oncoming and same direction traffic. At other times, Underwood would "dart" at law enforcement vehicles and position her vehicle in the opposite lanes of traffic in an attempt to prevent officers from overtaking her vehicle.
On more than one occasion, Underwood placed the lives of other motorist and law enforcement in grave danger by her attempts to escape detention. After approximately twenty minutes into the pursuit (approximately twenty miles), Underwood entered the opposite lane of traffic and pulled alongside a Searcy County Deputy. Seeing the oncoming traffic and understanding the fatal consequences of Underwood's actions, the deputy began forcing Underwood to the edge of the roadway. During this action, and just seconds before striking oncoming traffic, Underwood's vehicle and the deputy's vehicle made contact. This contact resulted in Underwood leaving the roadway and coming to rest in the ditch.
Underwood immediately exited the vehicle and was taken into custody by Sheriff Kenny Cassell. Underwood was alone in the vehicle at the time of the incident.
An inventory of the vehicle resulted in law enforcement locating a methamphetamine smoking device and a purple plastic container inside the purse of Underwood. Both items field tested POSITIVE for methamphetamine residue. Trooper First Class Paul Robinson was called to assist in the investigation. At the conclusion of his investigation, Underwood provided a urine sample and was charged with DWI DRUGS. Trooper Robinson will complete a DWI offense report and make it part of the original case file. Underwood was transported to the Searcy County Detention Center. She has been arrested for AGGRAVATED ASSAULT - Class D Felony, FELONY FLEEING - Class D Felony, POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA METH OR COCAINE - Class D Felony, RECKLESS DRIVING - Traffic Violation and DWI DRUGS - Class A Misd..